A Sad Super Bowl

32617742062_d996797943I love sports. I find comfort in the clarity that they provide in an otherwise muddled world: there are good guys and bad, clear lines drawn, a known set of rules, and people who keep watch to make sure those rules are followed. Generally speaking I’m a very cynical person, but for whatever reason, I place some weird faith in the the process of athletic competition. And I want there to be beauty and fairness and goodness in it. I want to be able to believe that what happens on the court or the field is emblematic of something bigger. The backstories matter to me.

Which is why I found myself profoundly disappointed when the New England Patriots came from behind to pull off the biggest Super Bowl upset in history last Sunday. Like the kind of disappointment that’s usually reserved for when the Giants lose. And I will neither confirm nor deny whether or not the post-game drive home was filled with some pointed expletive-laced remarks, to which my boyfriend wisely chose not to respond.

I felt like the bad guys won. Continue reading

A Little Giant Victory

giantsTo write about anything right now other than the election and its aftermath seems small and irrelevant to me. It’s felt that way for a while, so I let the blog go dark. Sure, I have some thoughts about the current state of the union, but mine wouldn’t be anything other than another voice bouncing around in the echo chamber. I am profoundly sad and very scared. Nothing original.

Since the election I haven’t written a thing.

But this morning I got up and had a thought: the only way to move on is to move on. Which for me is to write. That’s what I do. I tell stories. I believe in the power of storytelling—in its ability to take you from one place to another—and that remains true, even in a world that’s been turned upside-down.

There’s a story that I’ve been wanting to tell—a small one, that doesn’t involve any apocalyptic predictions or course-correcting diagnoses for the world. It’s just about this one perfect day I had last month, and it won’t unwind the clock or make me any less scared about where this country is headed.

But I’m going to tell it anyway because it’s all I know how to do. Continue reading

Guys Like Us

I’ve been working on this one for 25 years, and finally I was able to find the words for it. Here’s the first part of it, make sure to click the link at the bottom to read the whole thing. photo-1437943085269-6da5dd4295bf

My father has never made it easy to love him, mostly because it was never easy for him to love the life he fell into. Marriage, children, a medical career—all things he was told to want, and so he tried to believe that he did. And you could almost see the weight of all that responsibility bearing down on him, pressing him into shapes that were so unnatural to him that even when he wasn’t fighting against them, you could see how much effort it took for him to stay in them.

Whether the soft spot that he had for me was a cause or an effect of the love we shared for the New York Knicks, I can’t really say. What I can say is that my relationship with my Dad was never more right than when we were watching or discussing Pat Riley’s rugged Knicks of the mid-90s. Those were the teams I grew up on. Ewing, Starks, Oakley, Mason—those were my heroes, the first great sports loves of mine. And those assholes were constantly toying with me.

They were always dangling a championship in front of my face like meat in front of a cub, dragging it closer and closer until it was inches from my face and I was in a trance, watching its juices drip to the ground, absolutely certain that the next drop was mine. And then Reggie Miller would happen, or John Starks, or a missed finger roll, or a playoff brawl, or a head-butt, or Michael Jordan or any of the thousand other things that snatched that meat right back. I grew accustomed to starving.

This, some people say, was deserved. The wider world saw those Knicks as a pack of thugs muddying up a beautiful sport, either of their own volition or Riley’s. Maybe they were.     Truth is, my father and I wouldn’t have loved them as much as we did if everyone else hadn’t hated them so much–how else would they have shown us what not giving a shit looked like? He rooted for them because they did what he never could; they became something other than what they were told to be. Rooting for Starks and Oakley and Mason was, for my father, a chance to fight back against the inevitability of the life he was living. It was a strange search for redemption by proxy, but because it was also his way of reaching for me, it brought him even closer to the life he was trying to escape.

Sometimes, the only way out is back in.

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To read the rest and find out how the Knicks taught me to love my father, check out the full piece at The Classical.